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In news:

A study by journal Water Policyon water availability in eight towns in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, also known as the water towers of Asia, shows aggravating acute water crisis by 2050.

In brief:

  • The eight towns are Havelian and Murree in Pakistan; Mussoorie, Devprayag, Singtam and Kalimpong in India, Damauli and Tansen in Nepal.
  • Demand–supply gap in eight of the surveyed towns in the HKH region is between 20% and 70%.
  • In line with current trends, the demand–supply gap may double by 2050.
  • There is a high dependence on springs ranging between 50% and 100% for water supply in three-fourths of the urban areas in the HKH region.
  • Most households in these towns have to depend on public standposts and water tankers as water shortages are most acute between May and July due to peak tourist season coupled with lean discharge period.

Review Of Monuments’ List

In news:

  • Government is planning to review the monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the ones protected by the State governments.
  • At present, 3,691 monuments nationwide are protected by the ASI, with the highest number 745, in Uttar Pradesh.

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017:

  • The Act defines a ‘prohibited area’ as an area of 100 meters around a protected monument or area. The central government can extend the prohibited area beyond 100 meters. The Act does not permit construction in such prohibited areas, except under certain conditions even if it is for public purposes.
  • The Bill amends this provision to permit construction of public works in ‘prohibited areas’ for public purposes.
  • Public works includes the construction of any infrastructure that is financed and carried out by the central government for public purposes. This infrastructure must be necessary for public safety and security and must be based on a specific instance of danger to public safety. Also, there should be no reasonable alternative to carrying out construction in the prohibited area.

India Is Host To 457 Migratory Fauna, Shows Latest CMS List

In News?

  • Migratory wildlife list released by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS).
  • Recently, Gandhinagar in Gujarat played host to the Conference of Parties (COP 13) of the CMS.

More in News:

  • Forthe first timeThe Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) hadcompiled the list of migratory species of India under the CMS.
  • The ZSI report had 451 species listed out initially, with six species including the Asian elephant, great Indian bustard, Bengal florican, oceanic white-tip shark, urial and smooth hammerhead shark being added later.
  • There have been new additions to the migratory wildlife list put out by the CMS when compared to previous list.
  • Currently, the total number of migratory fauna from India numbers 457 species.

Species Account:

1. Birds:

  • Birds account for the largest share of the migratory species, accounting for about 83% (380 species).
  • The bird family Muscicapidae has the highest number of migratory species.
  • The next highest group of migratory birds is raptors or birds of prey, such as eagles, owls, vultures and kites which are from the family Accipitridae.

2. Mammals:

The largest group of mammals is bats belonging to the family Vespertilionidae. Dolphins are the second-highest group of mammals with nine migratory species of dolphins listed.

3. Fishes:

Fish make up another important group of migratory species. There are 24 species of migratory fish in India.

4. Reptiles:

Seven reptiles, which include five species of turtles and the Indian gharial and saltwater crocodile, are among the CMS species found in India. There were no new additions to the reptiles list.

India’s role:

  • India recently unveiled its National Action Plan (NAP) for Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Habitats.
  • With new additions to the wildlife list put out by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), scientists say that the total number of migratory fauna from India comes to 457 species.
  • Birds comprise 83% (380 species) of this figure.
  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) had for the first time compiled the list of migratory species of India under the CMS before the Conference of Parties (COP 13) held in Gujarat recently. It had put the number at 451.
  • Six species were added later.
  • Asian elephant, great Indian bustard, Bengal florican, oceanic white-tip shark, urial and smooth hammerhead shark were added later.

Related news:

  • India has three main flyways of the nine flyways globally.
  • A flyway ( imply the flight paths used by the migratory birds) is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle –
    • breeding,
    • moulting,
    • staging and
    • non-breeding.
  • The Central Asian flyway, Asian East African Flyway(covering parts of western India) and East Asian–Australasian Flyway (covering parts of eastern India).

Eurasian Otter Found In Chilika Lake

In news?

  • A study of the wildlife fauna in and around Odisha’s Chilika Lake. Researchers conducting a study in Odisha’sChilika Lake has found the presence of a viable, breeding population of a fishing cat in the brackish water lagoon.
  • It is a globally endangered species that is elusive and found in very few places in the south and south-east Asia.

About Fishing cat:

  • The fishing cat (Prionailurusviverrinus) is a medium-sized wild cat. The fishing cat is a globally endangered species that is elusive.
  • The fishing cat hunts in water. It has specialized features like partially webbed feet and water-resistant fur that helps it to thrive in wetlands.
  • The fishing cat is predominantly nocturnal.

Habitat:

  • Lives foremost in the vicinity of wetlands, along rivers, streams, oxbow lakes, in swamps, tidal creeks and mangroves.

Distribution:

  • Found in very few places in the south and south-east Asia.
  • It is broadly but discontinuously distributed in Asia and is primarily found in the Terai region of the Himalayan foothills in India and Nepal, in eastern India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Found in India:

  • Mangrove forests of the Sundarbans,
  • Foothills of the Himalayas along the Ganga and Brahmaputra river valleys
  • Western Ghats.

Threats:

  • Destruction of wetlands, which are increasingly being polluted and converted for agricultural use and human settlements.
  • The conversion of mangrove forests to commercial aquaculture ponds is a major threat.
  • Another threat to the fishing cat is depletion of its main prey-fish due to unsustainable fishing practices and over-exploitation of local fish stocks.
  • The fishing cats are also occasionally poached for its skin.

Conservation status:

  • IUCN Red List : Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 : Schedule I
  • The fishing cat is the state animal of West Bengal.